Generative Moments in the Enactment of the Japanese Tea Ceremony

Kozue Ito, Kozue Ito
2017 Japanese review of cultural anthropology  
Studies on the tea ceremony have tried to answer the question, "What is tea?" for decades from historical and philosophical points of view. This paper deliberately converts the viewpoint from such an essential one to a processual one, in order to elucidate the generative moments in the enactment of the tea ceremony. Employing a perspective on the anthropology of art put forth by Alfred Gell, this paper analyzes a tea connoisseur's enactment of the tea ceremony. Contrary to the former
more » ... e former anthropological, symbolic analyses of the tea ceremony, an enactment of a tea ceremony is not perfectly prescribed, but temporarily engendered by communication between host and guests through conversation via things (i.e., utensils) as a medium of their agency. Yet, because every single tea ceremony is nonrecurring temporary event, these utensils-indexes in the enactment of a tea ceremony-do not exist forever. Instead, the repetition of the generative moment weaves out the social, relational world of tea.
doi:10.14890/jrca.18.1_69 fatcat:vsgdj6wg35ab3hpap22r2q23ci